Gov. Cuomo now dictates which foods, portion sizes can be served with alcohol at outdoor bars and restaurants (op-ed)


NEW YORK, NY – Gov. Andrew Cuomo is forcing people in his state to sit down outdoors and purchase only certain foods in an approved portion size if they want to drink alcohol at bars and restaurants.

You read that right, and now some people are calling him a “drinktator.”

If you want to blow off steam during this pandemic and grab a beer, you must first sit and then purchase “substantive” food to go with it.

If you are having a hard time coping with unemployment, riots or the discovery of “off-world vehicles,” you can sip a nice Merlot but need to sit first and then order “substantive” food to go with it.

What if you are just thirsty and not hungry?

Too bad, you must open your wallet and order food whether you will eat it or not because the governor who infamously put Covid-19 positive patients in nursing homes knows what’s best for your health.

The pandemic has caused many businesses to close up, some permanently. Restaurants and bars have been hit hard, but some have reopened and are now faced with complex rules and regulations that restrict what they can do or offer customers.

“To be a bar, you had to have food available. Soups, sandwiches, etc. More than just hors d’oeuvres, chicken wings — you had to have some substantive food. The lowest level of substantive food were sandwiches,” Cuomo said.

Sandwiches are substantive food, but chicken wings that were invented in Buffalo are not. Got it.

Science says that eight wings have 648 calories and 56 grams of protein, meeting the USDA’s protein requirement for most people per day.

Timothy P. Carney pointed out Cuomo’s irrational war on wings:

“Cuomo’s not motivated by science in his denial of wings. He’s hung up on some superstition that if it’s on the appetizer side of the menu (or, in Cuomo’s preferred French, the hors d’oeuvres), it doesn’t count as a meal.”

Anne Muldoon, owner of Lowery Bar & Kitchen, pointed out that some people just want “a cocktail, some chips,” and that’s all. However, the new rules mean bars will lose customers, and that’s the last thing they need now:

“We have one lady who comes in who has high food allergies. She never eats out, but has a couple glasses of wine and it’s a little freedom and now we have to tell her she has to order food. So she walks out our doors. Every customer counts right now,” Muldoon said.

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The governor’s comments come a day after a tweak by the State Liquor Authority requiring bars to sell more “substantial” snacks in order to sell alcoholic beverages, according to the New York Post.

That law, which dates back to 1964, does not cover “Cuomo chips” — a $1 bag of potato chips one upstate bar owner sold to customers as a cheap way to fall into compliance.

Harvey’s Irish Pub owner Matthew Bagely offers “Cuomo Chips” so customers don’t have to pay for a full meal:

“I mean why not, they’re his chips, they’re his rule so he might as well get some recognition and acknowledgment for another little hurdle we have to jump through as business owners. For the time being until we have more information — that’s food. And you can buy it for a dollar.”

However, the governor said even chips named after him just don’t cut it:

“This is a law going back to the old days. The bar had to have food available, soups, sandwiches — even Cuomo chips were not enough.”

Due to a surge in outdoor drinking, Cuomo made it clear that bars and restaurants were allowed to reopen for outdoor dining only:

“Since we only have one license, we reopened bars and restaurants, but that was for outdoor dining. It was not for outdoor drinking. There was no license that would allow you to have a block party in front of the bar.”

Cuomo then called on local police departments, which are quite busy addressing protests and riots, to help curb large outdoor gatherings outside bars:

“We need the local government to do it, the NYPD, we need the Nassau police, we need the Suffolk police in the Hamptons, we need the Erie County police, we need the Albany police to do their job,” he said.

Patrons are required to be seated and order a food item before enjoying drinks al fresco.

The governor explained that some bars and restaurants, which opened for outdoor dining only on June 22, have “compliance issues” amid the coronavirus crisis and said the state will publicly post the names of establishments that “face disciplinary charges,” according to the New York Post.

So, outdoor eateries and bars are being blamed for a spike in coronavirus, yet the massive anti-police protests and riots have no impact?

Hold my beer.

Dr. Jay Varma, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s senior adviser for public health, said there was no connection between the miles-long demonstrations in June throughout the city and the coronavirus surge that same month:

“There’s nothing that we can see that directly links the protests to the rise that we’re seeing right now among younger people.

“If you look at the time period in which the protests were most active and intense, we didn’t see a similar increase occurring around that time, it occurred a little bit later in the month. It certainly suggests the protests weren’t a direct cause.”

In mid-June, 20- to 29-year-olds had a rate of close to 20 cases per 100,000 people in the Big Apple. By the end of the month, that rate had nearly doubled, according to city data.

When pressed about the five- to 14-day incubation period for the disease, Varma admitted:

“There’s a lot we don’t know.

“It is certainly possible that people who were out and about in protests might have acquired an infection there, but it’s also certainly possible that they might have acquired it in any number of other places as well.”

Well, that was helpful.

Andrew Rigie, the head of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, said the new restrictions are counterproductive:

“Prohibiting an adult from having a beer on a hot summer day while seated at a table without ordering food is counterproductive to getting people off the streets and seated at tables.”

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